Counseling is a broad field with many different career options. Regardless of the type of counseling studied, however, all online counseling programs teach a few basic skills and provide similar theoretical underpinnings.
Distance learning degree programs in counseling generally culminate in a Master of Science or Master of Education degree, depending on the requirements of the program, and can focus on rehabilitative counseling, family therapy counseling and school counseling. Common courses for all programs include counseling theory, ethical decision making, professional practices and case management. In addition, most distance-learning counseling master's degree programs also require a certain amount of clinical experience or on-site training.
M.S. in School Counseling
This program trains students to counsel children at the elementary and secondary level of education. Future counselors are provided with an understanding of counseling theory and developmental psychology; they complete their training at a K-12 school.
- Developmental Psychology
- Educational Theory
- Educational Planning
- Cross-Cultural Counseling
- Career Counseling for Youths
M.S. in Family Therapy Counseling
This degree trains students to help families deal with emotionally disruptive issues so that they can function healthily. Clinical training is completed at a family therapy clinic.
- Family Therapy Theories
- Substance Abuse in Families
- Family Therapy Assessment
- Couples Therapy
- Sexuality and Intimacy in Families
M.S. in Rehabilitative Counseling
Rehabilitative counseling focuses on assisting those with disabilities to find careers and adjust to their lives. Training focuses on the medical and psychological aspects of disabilities, and how those with disabilities function within society. Clinical training is provided through supervised visits with those who have disabilities, or through a counseling clinic.
- Medical Aspects of Disability
- Psychosocial Aspects of Disability
- Rehabilitation of Individuals with Severe Mental Illness
- Career and Vocational Issues for Disabled Persons
- Introduction to Rehabilitation Research
Most distance-learning counseling programs are taught entirely through online platforms, allowing students to complete assignments and engage in discussions from home. Lectures are delivered through either streaming live video or as recorded videos students can watch at their convenience. Tests may be timed and based online, applicable only on campus or administered by a proxy, depending on the program.
Online master's degrees in counseling offer students an opportunity to complete all courses online, though on-site clinical training is also required. Students can choose between programs in family therapy counseling, rehabilitative counseling and school counseling.